Latest News » For women, antioxidants may keep heart disease at bay

The antioxidants found in fruit and veg can help your heart.

Antioxidants are an important part of any diet. These substances, which include vitamins A, C and E, help protect our cells from getting harmed by free radicals – the rogue byproducts of food consumption and other methods of oxidation in the body. Free radicals can cause a wide array of health problems by attacking and damaging DNA.

Because free radicals target just about any cell they come across, the effects of this damage can present themselves in many forms. In extreme cases, they can cause the onset of severe illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease and certain forms of cancer. Recently, the Karolinska Institute, a medical university in Stockholm, released findings from an investigation into how antioxidants may help fend off another free-radical-related affliction: heart disease.

The study, which will be published in the American Journal of Medicine next month,  reportedly involved monitoring the diets and health records of 32,561 women over the course of 10 years. The participants, all of whom were between the ages of 49 and 83 years old, were asked to fill out surveys regarding the amount of antioxidant-rich foods they ate on a regular basis.

Based on their observations, the Swedish investigators found that women who consumed the most antioxidants in their diets – largely by eating seven nutritious servings of various fruits and vegetables – were 20 percent less likely to experience a harmful heart event, like cardiac arrest.

According to an official press release, the researchers speculated that these benefits may be caused by the fact that the participants got their nutrients directly from fruits and vegetables, so the antioxidants they consumed weren’t in isolated doses.

With that in mind, it’s important to note that nutritional supplements can boost nutrition, but can’t completely make up for a diet lacking in nutrients.